By Roberto Samora
SAO PAULO, March 10 (Reuters) - Brazil's Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias has secured support from five South American countries for a proposal excluding fertilizer products from any sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, her aides told Reuters on Thursday.
The Brazilian proposal, to be submitted to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, is backed by the agriculture ministers of the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS), which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, her aides said.
Brazil, an agricultural powerhouse, is the world's top importer of fertilizers and argues that crop nutrients, like food, should not be targeted by sanctions.
Dias, who is expected to talk to FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu on Wednesday, has called on countries to find a global solution for the issue, noting a shortage of fertilizers will cause food inflation and potentially undermine food security.
She hopes to get enough support from FAO to persuade other U.N. members to back the proposal.
"Global food inflation is something that should worry all countries," Dias said in a recent interview.
Even before the war in Ukraine, the global supply of fertilizers, especially potash, was already being curtailed after the United States sanctioned Belarus, another major producer.
Brazil relies on imports for 85% of the fertilizer it needs for its grain crops. More than one-fifth of its imports, totaling 9 million tonnes in 2021, comes from Russia.
As part of Brazil's efforts to secure supplies, Dias and Brazilian company representatives will travel next week to Canada, where Nutrien NTR.TO, the world's largest global producer of potash, is based.
While Russia is Brazil's main supplier of the NPK fertilizer mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, Canada is Brazil's main source of potash used to raise crop yields.
(Reporting by Roberto Samora Writing by Ana Mano Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)
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